Washington 6th May 2013
Scientists claim to have found evidence that cigarettes are a gateway drug to marijuana. US researchers randomly selected incoming college students from two universities – one in the North-West and one in the Midwest – to participate in the study. Students were interviewed prior to entering college and again at the end of their freshman year regarding their attitudes, intentions and experiences with substances. Students were asked if they had used tobacco or marijuana ever in their lives and in the past 28 days. Researchers also assessed the quantity and frequency of marijuana and tobacco use in the past 28 days.
“Contrary to what we would expect, we also found that students who smoked both tobacco and marijuana were more likely to smoke more tobacco than those who smoked only tobacco,” said study author Megan Moreno, an investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.
Results showed that prior to entering college, 33% of the 315 participants reported lifetime tobacco use, and 43% of lifetime users were current users. In addition, tobacco users were more likely to have used marijuana than those who did not use tobacco.
By the end of their freshman year, 66% of participants who reported tobacco use prior to entering college remained current users with an average of 34 tobacco episodes per month. Of these, 53% reported concurrent marijuana use.